What are Essential Fatty Acids & How You Can Get Them in Your Diet
In order to achieve optimal health, it’s important that we eat the right foods for proper nutrition. There are additional vitamins and nutrients that we can take daily to get what our bodies need. Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are two fatty acids known to be vital for humans: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). The body cannot make EFAs on its own. Therefore, we must ingest them.
There are two primary types of EFAs:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3s are commonly found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids: The main omega-6 fatty acid is linoleic acid. It is present in vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, and corn oil.
There are numerous benefits to giving the body EFAs, including improved risk factors in heart disease, improved depression and anxiety, fighting age-related mental decline, reducing inflammation and fighting autoimmune diseases.
Incorporate these foods to get more EFAs in your diet.
- Seafood (Salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, oysters)
- Flaxseed, chia and pumpkin seeds
- Cod liver oil
- Brussel sprouts
- Omega-3 and omega-6 supplements